Winzer David Turner, Jr. was born in Ruston/Grambling, Louisiana. David’s dad was in the military, so his family moved around a lot during his childhood. Unfortunately, at the age of twelve David’s mother passed away. This caused David and his brother having to move to California with their father. When he became a junior in high school, David became very active; he started playing the trumpet in the band, and after a couple of years he switched to the drumline. He was also a member of the chess club. By David’s junior year in high school, he decided that he wanted to move back to Grambling and live with his grandmother. David became a church musician at the age of thirteen and he still currently plays for his church today. He plays the keyboard, the piano, and the organ.
AMPS: How old were you when you started playing the piano?
David: I started playing the piano when I was about six years old.
AMPS: What year were you diagnosed as a diabetic?
David: I was diagnosed as a diabetic in 1996.
AMPS: When did you start losing your vision?
David: In 2011, I started getting sick and I had a retinal detachment that needed surgical repair. After surgery is when I lost sight in my left eye. In the beginning of 2013, I noticed that it was hard for me to see traffic lights and by the time summer came I could not see the back of vehicles that were in front of me. I ended up running into the back of a truck one day due to my vision. My illness went to a completely new level and in September of 2013 is when I completely lost my eyesight.
AMPS: You have another illness called Gastroparesis. When were you diagnosed with that and is there a cure for it?
David: I was diagnosed back in 2011. Gastroparesis is caused by diabetes and diabetes causes your blood vessels to weaken and shrink. The blood vessels are not able to be used properly; therefore, it causes issues with the organs they are attached to. Gastroparesis comes from the vessels that lead to the stomach. This has caused my stomach to become somewhat paralyzed and now I am not able to digest food properly. Where it would take some people only a few hours to digest their food it takes my stomach at least 11 or 12 hours total to digest one meal. It is very painful, and it causes me to ball up in the fetal position. People normally eat every five hours and by the time they eat again, their food has digested, but in my case if I eat another meal five hours after the first meal it just adds on top of the food that I ate earlier. This causes me to throw up. Throwing up a lot causes me a lot of pain in my stomach.
AMPS: Is there a cure for Gastroparesis and what are they doing to ease your pain?
David: No, there is no cure. Since I cannot hold anything in my stomach most of the time I have to be admitted into the hospital. The hospital staff will then give me meds through an IV.
AMPS: Is there something you can do like maybe change your diet to ease the process?
David: Yes and no, and what I mean by that is with this disease there is no guarantee. What may work this week may not work next week. The changes that you make might work today and then tomorrow you try the same change, and it causes a completely different reaction.
AMPS: What motivates you to keep going and not to give up?
David: That is easy. My faith and my family are the main two reasons that I cannot give up. There are so many other people with a lot more issues than what I have. How can I inspire and motivate anyone if I am down and out about my condition? I have to stay positive and strong for other people. I must continue to convince myself despite what I am going through I can still do things. I am not going to let this stop me from at least trying. Which is why I still cook, I still work on my car, I cut my own hair, and I have got to continue being a musician and ministering to people. All of that to me is my therapy and Stevie Wonder has been blind since birth so if he can do it then why can’t I. God would not have given this to me if I could not handle it.
AMPS: What would you say to someone with a disability who would want to give up?
David: Just look at your situation and look how far you have made it. Realize that your situation could be worse. Stop focusing on the things that you can’t do and focus more on the things that you can do.
Follow David on social media:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.turner.18847
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/@elder_muzikman
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/elder_muzikman